By Rachel Lankester, founder Magnificent Midlife Movement
Do you ever feel a bit lost? Are there days when you lose your sparkle and question who you are and what you’re doing? Do you sometimes feel irrelevant and that you don’t have much to look forward to? It’s so easy sometimes to get stuck in a negative spiral, isn’t it?
I’ve been there myself and I know how hard it can be to get motivated again. Especially as we age, in a society that doesn’t exactly value older people.
One of the reasons I set up The Mutton Club was to try and change the narrative around women in midlife and beyond. I want being ‘mutton’ (ref. ‘mutton dressed as lamb’) to be something to be proud of, not ashamed. Women are fed the narrative all our lives that we get to midlife and it’s all downhill from there. And that’s so not true!
I genuinely believe the older we get, the better we get. And I’m passionate about getting that into women’s heads. But how can we help ourselves when we have a dip in confidence?
Here are my top tips I find useful every day, especially when I’m feeling a bit lost:
- Don’t believe society’s narrative about older women! You can create your own narrative in the same way you create your own life. Be proud of who you are and where you are in life. Be proud to be mutton – it’s a far tastier meat than lamb after all!
- Don’t believe your negative thoughts. Just because you think something, doesn’t make it true. It’s taken me a long time to learn that but it’s really good advice. You can actually change your thoughts like you change your socks. Positive affirmations can be very powerful too. We can rewire our thought processes if we change our internal narrative patterns.
- Don’t judge yourself. Be as nice to yourself as you would be to a friend. If your friend was down, you’d probably give them a nice nurturing positive pep talk, wouldn’t you? Well, do that to yourself. Talk to yourself the same way you’d talk to your friend.
- Visualize yourself being confident; see yourself in a scenario where you’re excelling. A few years ago I thought this was complete mumbo jumbo but I’ve found it’s actually very powerful. I’ve learned that professional athletes do it all the time. They visualize themselves standing on the podium with the medal round their neck. A bit of positive self-talk can do wonders. Don’t think “Oh I can’t do that”. Think, “I can’t do that YET.”
- Try not to misinterpret. Check what you think you heard. Could it have been meant differently to how you heard it? Or read it, if a message or email – those can be so easy to get wrong!
- Try meditating. I’m not as disciplined as I’d like to be when it comes to meditation but I’ve found it very useful for getting me back in the moment and grounding myself. Even five minutes a day is worth doing. There are many apps you can use such as Headspace (paid after the first 10 days) and Insight Timer (free).
- Start a gratitude journal. Again I don’t do this very regularly but when I do, it makes a big difference to how I feel. Taking some time each day to think about what we are grateful for is another good way of grounding ourselves. It could be as simple as, “I’m grateful I woke up again this morning!” Or “I’m grateful to have orange juice for breakfast!” Just keep it simple. But it helps to reframe our experience of life.
- Try setting yourself a challenge. It’s easy to get down when we have no sense of momentum. So setting ourselves a challenge, however small can be really helpful. I’m an uninspired cook so setting myself the challenge of baking a cake would be massive. Compared to my first half marathon last year! I don’t know what it is about me and baking but it brings me out in a cold sweat! But I know magic happens outside the comfort zone.
I hope these tips may help. Always remember, if you’re feeling a bit lost, you’re most certainly not alone. It can happen to all of us. Be kind to yourself and remember time is a great healer.
Rachel Lankester is founder of the Magnificent Midlife Movement, host of the Magnificent Midlife Podcast, a midlife mentor and editor of the Mutton Club online magazine. After an initially devastating early menopause at 41, she dedicated herself to helping women vibrantly transition through the sometimes messy middle of life, helping them cope better with menopause and ageing in general, and create magnificent next chapters. She’s been featured in/on BBC Woman’s Hour, The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, The Age Buster, Woman’s Weekly, Prima Magazine, eShe, Tatler HK and Woman’s Own amongst others. She believes we just get better with age.